“I’m going wherever you’re going, you can’t get rid of me…”
My husband and I had anticipated this… with no idea as to when it might occur. My mother remained working full-time – in retail sales, on her feet more than 8 hours a day, at least 5 days a week, well into her late seventies. She was a retail rock-star! But the time had come for her to slow down. The physical toll was catching up. And her life journey left her with one retirement option: to move in with us.
Then came the reality check. How our worlds changed – immediately. We have all had to take a step back, take a deep breath and assess the future plan. How do we combine two households full of stuff? Do we need to move into a safer home? How can we give her a space to call her own? How is this going to affect any of us monetarily? Will my work situation have to change? How can we cover the new bills? How do we add her pets into our already overflowing dog-pack? What had been the occasional request to take Mom to the doctor has now become a regular activity – eyes, ears, mouth and nose… every doctor, every cold… every emotional response to the huge changes in her life – depression, anxiety, boredom, lack of self-worth, fear of being a burden and full-on panic.
So many questions… and no time left to mull it over. It was crunch time.
But there’s all kinds of good stuff! Mom loves to clean house! Our dogs adore her as if they were small children, and believe me they are fabulous con-artists. Mom loves our neighborhood, and new shopping experiences…and having us near her side. This phase of living is a new adventure – I remember to step back, to breathe, and to savor each adventure together. Love will find the way.
Are you facing the decision to have your parent move in with you? Every family situation is different. Consider whether home health or hospice are medical plans of care which can provide you with an entire team of help! Have those discussions at your dinner table… today!
If you are still employed, it may be helpful to take some time away from your job to put things in order. A very important development for caregivers was the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. Your employer is required by federal law to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to eligible employees, for certain family and medical reasons.
And, take some time to check out the Family Caregiver Alliance website – it is an incredible resource if you can’t even begin to think of where to start!
Now if we can just get her to remember to close the bathroom door!
Family Caregiver Alliance
National Center on Caregiving